• Mariela Perez-Cabarcas

Day 51: A Tale of Two Cities & Day 52: Black Hawk Up

Updated: Jul 29

Hello trusty readers, Mariela here to catch you up on our adventures in Denver and into the Rockies!

Thursday, July 21 – Rest(ish) Day

Our crew went on a number of adventures on this day. I had a good friend visiting so I went on some touristy adventures with her while the rest of the team had some adventures of their own. As it turned out, our experiences seemed to mirror each others throughout the day.

While the rest of the team spent the morning playing ping pong with our hosts and replacing our rental car (a window on the old car was defective and couldn't close if we tried to open it), my friend, Amira, and I went to check out some key Denver area tourist attractions. We went to Red Rocks Amphitheater and climbed SO many steps for what turned out to be an awesome view amongst some unsurprisingly red rocks.

Then, we drove over to Lookout Mountain to check out Golden, CO's tallest peak, and the gravesite of Buffalo Bill. The view was spectacular. I took a panoramic picture to try to capture it, but it doesn't do it justice. We also saw some cyclists climbing up the windy road that leads to the lookout. Apparently, Lookout Mountain is very popular for road cyclists.

One of the most surprising finds of the day was the giftshop at Lookout Mountain. Over this entire trip, I have been collecting stickers, patches, and other trinkets to document the journey. This gift shop had hundreds of souvenirs to choose from but some of my favorites are pictured below:

Bicycle Earrings, Cool Buffalo Patch, Colorado Bicycle Magnet

By lunchtime, the two crews were craving the same thing: burgers. While the rest of the team went to In-N-Out, Amira and I discovered a place called Bob's Atomic Burgers in Golden, CO.

Another parallel of our adventures came when the rest of the team went to Boulder, CO and my friend and I went to downtown Denver. While they saw art at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and tried herbal teas at the Boulder Dushambe Teahouse, Amira and I saw immersive art at Meow Wolf and tried pretty ice cream at Hidden Gems Ice Cream.

Finally, my day ended where the rest of the team began their day, in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. We saw some deer, geese, bison, and cute signs alerting us of their presence.

Here's a bison monching on some grass very close to our car.

Friday, July 22 – Denver, CO -> Blackhawk, CO

54 miles. 5,353 ft. elevation gain.

After leaving our hosts' place in Centennial (a suburb of Denver) we rode through Denver in what was some of our most urban riding of the trip so far. It felt like riding through Boston! There were also a pleasant number of bike paths to get us across Denver. One of them featured this sign telling us that as cyclists, we must yield not only to pedestrians but to horses too.

While we rode through the city, Maxwell and Franklin once again replaced our rental car (the trunk on the old new one would not stay open with our bike rack on it) for another one just like our original rental car (sans defective window).

We met up for lunch at a park in Golden, CO where we colored butterfly-shaped pieces of paper and dipped our feet in the nearby river which featured many tubers.

After lunch, we finally began our ascent into the Rockies. We crawled our way up the 20+ miles and thousands of feet of elevation gain to our hosts' place. We eventually stopped to meet the car for water but not before Maxwell joined us for the remainder of the ride in his civilian clothes. While we stopped it both started and stopped raining, leaving us with a beautiful triple rainbow.

The rest of the ride was especially scenic and mountainous, a striking difference from the city riding earlier in the day.

We finally arrived to our hosts, Amanda and Mike, in the middle of the mountains to be greeted by a delicious dinner of spaghetti with homemade bread and garlic oil, closing out the night with a jam session.

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